No Escape – Drama, action combine in this thriller — jump-starts your heart

DES PERES, Mo. — Nail-biting tension ensues as “No Escape” unfolds in this R-rated thriller.

An engineer from Austin, Texas, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) moves his wife, Annie (Lake Bell) and their two daughters (Claire Geare and Sterling Jerins) to an unnamed Asian country that borders Viet Nam and soon they find themselves caught in the middle of a coup. Unable to speak or read the language, they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being slaughtered.

Pierce Brosnan makes an appearance as a British ex-pat who helps the family try to escape. Sahajak Boonthanakit provided some much needed relief as “Kenny Rogers,” Pierce Brosnan’s side-kick.

Wilson’s performance was a pleasant surprise. I always think of him as a comedic actor but he gives a very convincing performance as a terrified man trying to protect his family experiencing the horrors of war.

I was squirming in my seat, trying hard not to cover my eyes through lots of the non-stop action although this is not an action movie, it is more of a drama. Every parent in the audience will be able to relate to the perils of this family. Intense is the only word I can think of to describe “No Escape.” I left the theater completely worn to a frazzle.

The script was written by the Dowdle brothers, John Erick and Drew. John Erik Dowdle also directed. The sets were phenomenal. They were rich and made you feel that you were in the orient with the Dwyer family. You could almost smell the foul stink of fish when Jack walked through the marketplace in search of a newspaper. There is an excessive amount of violence but it’s not gratuitous; I think it is necessary to make a point.

I viewed this Monday night at Wehrenberg’s Des Peres 14 Cine. Afterwards, I kept hearing words including my own — “intense,” “exciting” and “exhausted” from the viewers. One woman said she wasn’t leaving her house for a least a week. Several said they were never going to leave the U.S.A again. One woman said she was almost in tears after what that poor family had to endure, but most in the audience thought it was a really good movie. Only one woman said she thought it was “just OK.”

If you need to get your heart jump-started then “No Escape” is the movie for you. It is pure excitement from beginning to end.

“No Escape” opens today at AMC EastGate Showplace 6 and AMC Edwardsville Showplace 12.

The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at